Aberdeen’s Olympic 400m hopeful Zoey Clark is so happy to be back in competitive action after a gap of more than 15 months.
The Great Britain international was one of a handful of elite athletes allowed to take part in a specially-arranged indoor meeting at the Emirates Arena last weekend.
And she’ll return to Glasgow on Saturday for another race in the countdown to a possible appearance in next month’s European indoor championships in Poland.
Last Saturday’s race was Clark’s first since helping Great Britain take fourth place in the women’s 4x400m relay at the world outdoor championships at Doha in October 2019.
Her comeback proved to be a resounding success as she blasted round the tight bends of the Glasgow track to clock an impressive 400m time of 52.40sec. That’s well inside the Euro qualifying standard of 53.00.
Clark said: “It was exciting. After 15 months of no races, it was simply amazing. I was just buzzing the whole day and it was so good to be back racing again.
“I must admit I was nervous, but it was nervous excitement rather than anything else. It was a bizarre situation as there were only three events on the programme, a 60m, 400m and 800m.
“When I walked in there was hardly anyone there. Only around 10 athletes and a similar number of officials and staff. All the seating had been pushed back, so it was very different from usual.
“But I’m just so grateful to scottishathletics for putting the event on.”
— scottishathletics (@scotathletics) January 30, 2021
Clark showed no signs of race rustiness as she delivered a composed performance which exceeded her expectations.
She said: “There were only three of us in the race and I was the only girl. I was really happy with the performance as I’m fairly sure that’s the fastest opening 400m race I’ve run in any season.
“That’s pleasing considering I wasn’t sure I’d actually remember how to race as it has been so long.
“I knew from my training that I was in good shape, but it’s difficult to quantify that unless you have a race to really find out where you’re at.
“I really didn’t know how it would go. I was half expecting to come out and run something like 55secs, so when I saw my time I was really thrilled about it.
But, on the basis of last weekend’s performance, she could be in line for a place at the European indoor championships in Poland should the event go ahead.
She said: “I’d consider it for sure, but it’s all about getting ready for the summer.
“But getting as many races as possible just now would probably be beneficial.”